Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have daily Mass?
The friars celebrate Mass each day, however it is not always at Mount Carmel Center.  Please call to make sure there will be Mass on any given day before you come.  Mass Dress Code: Please wear pants (not shorts) if you plan on attending Mass.

How can I schedule a retreat?
The Center is open to those individuals or groups (Over 18 years of age only) who would like some quiet time away to grow closer to God. Please contact the office at 214-331-6224 ext. 114 at least two weeks in advance of your desired retreat date.  

What is a Friar?
From its Latin origin ‘frater’, the term literally means ‘brother’, as in fraternity. In the early Church, it was a general term used among the Christian faithful, as in the frequent use of the words “brother” and “brethren” in the New Testament writings. Later the term was used more exclusively by members of religious orders. Since the thirteenth century, it referred to those who belonged to one of the mendicant orders, such as the Franciscans, Dominicans, and Carmelites and others in the monastic tradition. Strictly speaking, however, a friar differs from a monk in that his ministry engages him in work outside the monastery, whereas traditionally the prayer and labors of a monk are within the monastery to which he belongs. Also, a friar is not bound to any locality or house, as a monk is. A friar is bound to a province, which usually consisted of the entire number of houses in a country or, as in America, a region. The friars at Mount Carmel Center belong to the Province of St. Thérèse, which comprises Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana. For more information about the province, click here.

What does Discalced mean?
You will often see the designation, OCD after a friar’s name. It stands for the Latin designation Ordinis Carmelitarum Discalceatorum, which literally translated means ‘Order of Carmel Discalced’, the understanding being ‘the Discalced Order of Carmel’. ‘Discalced’ comes from the word for ‘shoeless’ and was used as a designation for the reformed branches of religious Orders. The Carmelite Order was founded on Mt. Carmel in the Holy Land (Israel) in the year 1209 AD. The members of the Order migrated to Europe in the middle 13th century, living in monasteries rather than as hermits as on Mt. Carmel. During the latter part of the 16th century, St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross engaged in a reform of the Carmelite Order in Spain and brought about the establishment of the Discalced Carmelites as a separate branch of the Carmelite Order. Discalced, meaning barefoot, was a sign of reform. The ministry of the Discalced Carmelites flows from their life of prayer and is oriented toward leading others to intimacy with God. The older branch of Carmel exists and is referred to as the ‘Calced’ or ‘of the Ancient Observance’. The abbreviation is O. Carm.

What does it mean that the Carmelites are mendicant friars?
Mendicant comes from the Latin word for beggar mendicare “to beg”. Mendicant friars are members of religious orders who have taken a vow of poverty. They rely for support on their own work and on the charity of the faithful.
Practically speaking that means our friars must either earn or beg, their own support, the salaries of the staff, and the upkeep of Mount Carmel Center.

What is the daily life of the friars like?
The daily life of friars is structured around prayer. The Order of Discalced Carmelites is entrusted with the mission of being a praying presence in and for the Church and the world. The friars are expected to celebrate daily Mass as a community, to pray the entire Liturgy of the Hours, and to spend additional two hours in private, silent prayer.

The work of the order after prayer is the care of souls and missionary work. Having pondered the word in his heart, the Discalced Carmelite friar is entrusted with the mission of proclaiming the word through preaching, teaching, and catechizing. The Church looks to Carmelites for such apostolates as preaching parish missions, giving public conferences on prayer and spirituality, and for leading retreats and days of recollection. The Church also looks to the Carmelites, the Brothers of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, to foster among the faithful an authentically Christian relationship with Mary, the Mother of the Redeemer.

What do you call the brown robe the friars wear?
The robes that religious men and women wear are called ‘habits’ [habitus] and are the usual daily garb that they wear. The ‘habit’ is a sign of consecration and being ‘set apart’ for a particular way of life. Each Order or congregation has its own distinctive habit.
The Discalced Carmelite Friars wear a dark brown habit that consists of a tunic, a cincture (or belt), a scapular [that’s where the Brown Scapular comes from], and a cowl or capuche [hood]. On some occasions they may wear over this habit a white mantle and white capuche – symbol of Elijah’s mantle of prophet. They may also wear a ‘side-rosary’ on the left-side which is symbolic of a spiritual weapon since it is worn on the ‘sword-side’.